Does a police caution show on a DBS check?

police caution tape

What is a caution?

Cautions are low-level sanctions given out by the police. They are normally used to respond to minor criminal offences such as shoplifting or graffiti. The police often give cautions as a quick way of resolving crime without going to court. But a caution can also have a long-reaching impact on someone’s life.

Cautions require the person involved to admit to committing a crime. However, many people accept a caution without having legal advice and don’t know that they come with a criminal record.

"I was wrongly arrested for fare evasion after missing my stop on the way home from leaving drinks at work. I was taken to a police station, kept there for hours alone, confused and scared. Then I was made to sign a caution whilst being too drunk to full understand what was happening or the implications having never been in contact with the police before."

Do cautions appear on DBS checks?

Whether a caution appears on a DBS check depends on the type of caution and the type of check. 

Simple cautions do not show on a basic DBS check, the kind that any employer can request when deciding whether to employ someone. But they can still show up on more detailed standard and enhanced checks for roles which involve working closely with the public, such as social worker, teacher, taxi driver, or care home assistant.

Conditional cautions appear on a basic DBS check for three months, and can appear for much longer on standard and enhanced checks. 

However, some offences can be excluded from a person’s criminal record after a certain period of time. Click here to see a list of all the offences that were excluded from DBS checks from 2019 to 202

How can we change the system?

Research shows that some employers discriminate against people with a criminal record even if it was for something small. We don’t think people should lose out on work or promotion opportunities because of minor interactions with the police. 

That’s why we’re campaigning so that cautions will not be automatically included on any criminal record checks. Because everyone deserves the chance to move on.

You can help by signing up to our newsletter or clicking the button below to sign our petition. Remember to opt in for email updates to get the latest news on our progress!

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